Anna – A Memorial Soul Portrait by Christina DeHoff. Oil and Silver Leaf on Panel.
There is so much I can’t put into words about this profound painting process and the act of working on a spirit level to honor Anna.
My hope is that this painting feels like a celebration of Anna’s life and her spirit. Through Anna’s mother Gail sharing stories and experiences of Anna, I was given the visual messages that became this painting.
While I painted, I kept feeling the love that was and is present between Anna and her family. There was a very strong spiritual bond between Gail and Anna. Somehow it felt like she talked me through this painting. While I painted, I listened to music that Anna danced to and loved allowing me to really feel connected empathically with Anna. I’m never quite sure what I believe about death, but as I painted, Anna’s guidance was present.
The water element was important to be represented. The colors teal, blue, and different shades of turquoise surround Anna. These colors of the sea were her favorites.
The silver leaf represents soulful energy and other realms. As you move around the painting the light flows around Anna.
The number three is significant. The three Thistles represent a connection to Scotland, family roots, and Gail. I painted them based on a flower photo Gail sent me of a thistle that grew in the field near Gail’s home where she built a labyrinth on Strawberry Mountain.
The Wolf was an important animal spirit to be in this painting. I was moved by a painting Gail shared with me of four wolves and the quote by Matt on the program from Anna’s memorial service. The wolf in this painting is a lone wolf calling to the full moon. This wolf is meant to be a part of Anna and also a protector of her spirit as she walks in other worlds. The white light flowing from her to the wolf and eventually connecting with the swirl of energy in the universe around her symbolizes that she is a part of something bigger and more vast and interconnected than we can understand. I felt she understood this deep and powerful connection to all things and beings.
Eagle wings came through very strong. I am not clear why, but they had to be included. What came to me while painting them is a feeling that the wings are both a connection to the divine, the angelic realm, and a powerful symbol of freedom. Her freedom was connected to her passion for dance. It was important that the pose was of Anna dancing. Her gesture is one of surrender and hope. She is setting two beautiful orbs of light free. One is lavender/purple and the other is turquoise. These are meant to symbolize Nico and Skyla, her children.
I painted the suggestion of Anna’s wedding ring to symbolize her commitment and love for Matt and the life they made together. Her hand then gestures up to the child orbs that they created together.
The Inukshuck and stone circle labyrinth is all about Anna and Gail’s love and connection. Anna is dancing through the center of this spirit labyrinth based on the one that Gail built. Anna is bursting through the center of it, being held in Gail’s love by it, and also moving through it like there is an unseen veil of reality she could pass through to communicate.
The flower in Anna’s hair is the Hawaiian Plumeria blossom. Her love for Maui is represented by the tradition of wearing a blossom behind your ear. Maui was a place that Anna visited often. I received the message that Anna felt expanded on a personal and spiritual level here on Maui. It feels symbolic that I had the honor of creating this painting on the island of Maui.
Created with so much Love
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